We are halfway through the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. I don’t know how that’s possible as it feels like we were just dropping the gate on Anaheim 1, but here we are. Ricky Carmichael once said that the series doesn’t start until Daytona and while that isn’t factually accurate, I understand the sentiment. The second half of the series is so much more taxing than the first. Riders have traveled thousands of miles, withstood crashes, and signs of wear begin to show. The Daytona Supercross is also a “man’s race” It's rough, tough, and demanding. There is simply no way to fake Daytona results. Let’s take a look at the track and talk about why that is.
Dirty Little Secrets
Daytona’s start cuts across the middle of the course, effectively splitting it in half. It bends to the left and immediately into a very long straight filled with whoops and jumps. This can get dicey as riders are bunched together and trying to make quick moves. Ideally, riders will go 3-3 and then step on-step off in this first rhythm. Daytona is notorious for deteriorating conditions so watch for who can continue to execute the tougher rhythms as the main event wears on. The final four jumps will likely just be a double-double before the final 180 at the west end of the speedway.
Exiting the 180, riders will want to triple onto the next tabletop, step off and then once again go step on-step off. The 250SX rider will likely double out of the corner and then tabletop-to-single before the standard step on-step off. There is a wall jump to slow things down before entering a set of sand whoops. There isn’t a lot of strategy for these other than carrying as much momentum as possible into the next left hander.
Back-to-back sand straights are up next, and these often see crashes and mistakes. Passing is difficult here as the main inside line is hard to overcome. This also causes big goggle issues as riders are forced to follow through the cloud of beach sand.
After crossing the start straight, there is another triple-onto-tabletop and then step off. Riders will likely stick to the inside in the next elevated corner, protecting the inside and also traversing the shortest distance. A quick straight into a tight left will see riders go double-double before a slight bend to the left and through the tunnel jump. This section will be very tight and almost guarantee a follow-the-leader scenario.
Watch for riders to stick to the inside in the next 90-degree right-hand turn and either go 2-3 or roll, 2-2 here. That will set them up to accelerate towards an upcoming standard supercross triple. Upon landing, riders will need to gather themselves quickly to prepare for a dragon’s back into a tight hand corner.
Exiting the right, a set of clay supercross whoops will offer a chance for passing. These will likely get very choppy and difficult to find consistency in. Watch for riders to try to make moves in this first set of whoops and the uneven moguls after.
An interesting split lane is up next. I have seen these get taken away when it’s time to go racing but as it’s drawn, maybe this will create a bit of passing. The usual issue is that one of the lines is the clearcut faster route and everyone funnels into that lane. That essentially turns a fairly wide section into a single-track section. Let’s see if it pans out positively or if they have to adjust it.
Up next is a step up and over the tunnel bridge and then what will either be a wall jump or a gigantic double into the sand. Watch for this to be a chance to go big. The finish line double follows and onto lap two.
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